The Janome Memory Craft 500E was designed as an update and replacement for the very reliable Janome Memory Craft 350E. It’s not often that a sewing machine dealer gets truly excited about a new machine.
Even before the Janome Memory Craft 500E embroidery only machine was delivered to Sunshine Sewing and Quilting in Margate, Florida, store owner, Fay Nichol, was buzzing about this new acquisition. She even admitted to me that she had been “waiting for this machine for years”.
At A Glance
The Janome Memory Craft 500E doesn’t look anything at all like its predecessor – the 350E. The 500E has a large full color touch screen. An embroidery arm is permanently mounted on the machine bed. It is designed in such a way that embroidery hoops are very easily snapped into place and removed.
There is a start/stop button on the machine head next to the thread cut button. A menu icon on the touch screen enables the user to gain access to the on board designs, which includes a monogram and embroidery fonts and border designs.
The Janome Memory Craft 500E has a scratch resistant surface, a major advantage over those machines that are made with inferior, hard plastic materials.
There are bright LED lights, a USB port and a slot for insertion of floppy discs, enabling people who own the Janome Memory Craft 350E to continue to use the software they invested in to continue to use it on the updated 500E.
- Maximum embroidery size: 7.9” x 11”
- 160 built-in designs
- 6 fonts for monogramming
- 2 and 3 letter monogramming
- Auto return post thread break
- Automatically centers designs
- On-screen editing
- Drag and drop
- Copy and paste
- Corner layout
- Single color sewing
- 4 Way mirror imaging
- Lock out key
- Ability to edit on a computer and transfer to the machine via USB
- Advanced needle threader
- Advanced bobbin threader
- Programmable stitch skip feature
- Shift images by .5 degree increments
- Ability to combine design and borders
- Enlarge or decrease image size by 20%
- Digitizer enabled
- 2 Position presser foot lift
- Automatically ties off and cuts thread before jumping to another part of the design
- Ability to convert any embroidery design from multi-color to single color
Working on the Janome Memory Craft 500E
The Janome Memory Craft 500E has one of the simplest, most user friendly threading systems available on a sewing machine of any type.
Once the machine is threaded and the bobbin put into place, selecting a stitch option is as easy as first touching the menu button and then scrolling through the design options until the desired design is identified.
Embroidery designs are categorized by hoop size in the menu. It is possible to combine designs, insert borders and to customize designs in a number of ways.
It is not possible, however to increase or decrease embroidery designs more than 20% above or below the original dimensions.
During the course of this review, I sampled several different designs, and options for placement of designs, insertion of borders and programming multi-color designs to be executed with a single color thread. Watching the various designs as they were stitched out was an interesting experience.
With each design created during this review, I observed that the sewing speed varied with the complexity of the design, that the Janome Memory Craft 500E runs smoothly, quietly and although I noticed a little vibration, I believe it is due to the fact that the machine was place on a folding work table.
I cannot help but suspect that when mounted onto a proper sewing table, there would not be much vibration at all, if any. I also observed that each design, whether single or multi-color, was perfect in every way.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- Screw driver
- Screwdriver key
- 6 Spool caps [2 large/2 medium/ 2 small]
- Oil dispenser
- Lint brush
- Extra spool pin
- 4 Embroidery hoops
- 2 Rectangle – 7.9″ x 11″ and 5.5” x 7.9”
- 2 Square – 5.5” x 5.5” and 7.9” x 7.9”
- USB cable
- Owner’s manual
- Instructional DVD
- Soft dust cover
- Extra wide extension table
- Anti-slip sticker
- 8 Clamps
- Rectangle Hoop – 1.5” x 5.5”
- 9 Piece Scissor Kit
- Specialized Bobbin
- High tension Bobbin Holder for Embroidery
- Metal bobbins
- Plastic Bobbins
- Brush Out Embroidery Kit
- Extra Large Foot Controller
- Horizontal Spool Holder
- Needle Threader
- Seam ripper
- 5 Thread spool stand
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean race hook and feed dogs|
|Wipe head with soft dry cloth|
|Wipe head with soft damp cloth|
|Service by sewing machine repair professional|
Tying Off The Loose Ends
The Janome Memory Craft 500E is a very good embroidery only machine. It is definitely capable of rendering excellent embroidery projects, executed perfectly in every way.
My concern, however, is that the user is limited in options as to size. Designs created for specific use in the large hoop cannot be altered or adjusted to fit the small hoops and vice versa.
On the other hand, I like the way designs can be altered, combined and manipulated in other ways. I especially like the ease with which a multi-color design is converted to a single color pattern.
Working with the easy to follow threading guide, the advanced needle threading and bobbin winding systems makes preparing to work on the Janome Memory Craft 500E a snap, so getting down to the real business of creating embroidery designs is as fast as can be.
When it comes to the quality of finished embroidered designs, the Janome Memory Craft 500E cannot be beat. I like the ease with which it is operated and I like the way designs are combined, moved and executed.
I do, however, have a problem with the fact that anyone who chooses this machine is limited in their choices as to how large or small a design or combination of designs could be. With all of the other major advantages to owning the Janome Memory Craft 500E, I cannot help but wonder why the manufacturer decided to tie he user’s hands like this.
In my opinion, an embroidery machine as excellent in every other way as the Janome Memory Craft 500E is restricting its own capabilities far too much by not making it possible for users to use any hoop to create any one of the 160 designs.
The Janome Memory Craft is a good choice for anyone who is new to machine embroidery. I do not, however, recommend its use by anyone who is new to sewing altogether.
Before taking on the task of working on an embroidery only machine, it is necessary in my opinion for the user to already have a thorough knowledge and understanding of basic sewing machine operation.
Because of the issue with sizing of designs, I hesitate to recommend the 500E for someone who is an avid machine embroiderer. If machine embroidery is a major part of an individual’s sewing practice, limiting themselves like that could be a definite turn off.
If, however, machine embroidery is something that an individual enjoys engaging in, and is not discouraged or dissuaded by the limitations of having to restrict their creativity to the parameters of the built in design constraints, I believe the Janome Memory Craft 500E would be the perfect choice.
Its sturdy construction, solid feel and scratch resistant outer body are certainly advantages that may not be available on other embroidery only machines.
Anyone who is in the market for a new embroidery only machine should definitely take a close look at the Janome Memory Craft 500 before deciding to make a final purchase.
While the Janome Memory Craft 500E may not be for every machine embroidery enthusiast, there is definitely a place for it in lots of sewing rooms the world over.
- Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
- Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
- Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
- On-screen editing
- Limited size of embroidery designs